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Marakele: ADVICE

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Unread post by steve » Thu Jan 20, 2005 5:43 am

I have visited Marakele a couple of times, both staying at Tlopi. This is a beautiful park, and the drive up the mountain is an unforgettable experience.

There are 10 tents. Each has a bedroom, with 2 beds, a bathroom, kitchen and braai. Each overlooks the pond which provides some magnificent sunsets.

Hope this helps

PS If I knew how to post a picture, I would.

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Re: advise for marakele

Unread post by Danie » Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:41 am

simonbee wrote:just after some advise please

looking to go to marakele in march, staying at the tlopi camp.

how many tents are there?

do we need to pack / take anything special with us for the trip e.g. fuel, food etc.

are there any maps of the park available?

Dear simonbee

If you have a look on our website, you will find a lot of information related to Marakele. Use this link
and make sure you also browse under the Tourism heading (on the left of the page) once you have reached the Marakele info:

Hope this will assist you.

Danie Pretorius
Senior Manager: IT Infrastructure
South African National Parks (SANParks)

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Unread post by DuQues » Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:43 am

I see on the website that most of the park is only accesible with 4x4's.

Most of it is accessible with normal sedan's. Some off the sandroads may have been temporarily closed (Check before leaving the camp!), the tarroads are as far as I know always open.
Don't be put off by the word sandroad, they are well kept, and you won't bog down.
Kilometers I don't know, but believe me, it's enough!

Will it be worth visiting the park in a sedan from a game viewing point of view?

It will even be worth visiting in a tank from which you can see nearly nothing, with one eye taped closed.

Unless you're really, really unlucky you'll have a great vacation.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Marakele Roads

Unread post by Erwin » Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:13 am

Hi there

Which site of Marakele are you referring to? There are the Kwaggasvlakte area (Bontle camping & picnic sites) and then the Greater region (Thlopi tented camp etc.).

Roads report as on 29-30/01/2005:
The roads at Kwaggasvlakte are mainly accessable by sedan motors except during heavy rains. One can then easily get stuck in the middle of the road. They have tried to fix this by using gravel stone and very unsightly building rubble(bricks, mortar.) Why not use natural stone?

The gravel roads at the Greater area are mainly for 4x4's and high clearance vehicles. There are +- 7km which could be negotiated :shock: by sedan if it does not rain.

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Road conditions in Marakele

Unread post by Owl » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:19 pm

Dear Erwin,

The whole of kwaggasvlakte where Bontle campsite is situated is sedan friendly. The network of pathways is probably about 30km if it was all stretched out in a straight line. It is a small area, but well stocked with game, including tsessebe, sable and white rhino.

However the highlight of the park is the drive up to the towers on the mountain top. This road is tarred the whole way. (It used to be the service road for the Sentec towers on the mountain top). Although it is only 20.5km of tar from the public dirt road to the mountain top, the road is very narrow and steep and it will take you at least an hour each way, and more likely alot more if you are game viewing and birdwatching.

The track starts off in bushveld, where rhino and other general game may be seen. Then it moves past a grassy vlei area, where common and mountain reedbuck, eland and red hartebeest may well be seen. The the steep climb starts, and klipspringer should be seen, plus the afore mentioned species as one looks back over the vlei. Up on the mountain top rock hyrax (dassie), elephant shrew and baboon are likely, and the montane birds are very tame and inquisitive. Cape Vultures and possibly jackal buzzard and verreaux's eagle will soar overhead.

While Tlopi Safari Tent Camp can be reached easily in a sedan, the roads leading from the camp and linking up with the tar road are 4x4 (or 2x4 with high clearance). However one can sit on the deck of one's unit and see what game comes to drink. The Wild Dog were active at the dam recently. Elephant used to be more evident here, but most of them have migrated over the mountain to Marakele PTY Ltd which is owned by a Dutch businessman, who helped SANParks finance acquiring additional land and erecting fencing. Although this part of the park is currently off limits to visitors to the National Park, the road to Hoopdal is a public road that passes along the boundary fence. It is regular to see elephant, cheetah and wild dog along this road.

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Re: Rainy Season?

Unread post by gindt » Tue Feb 15, 2005 1:11 pm

Hello Kai,
I can't tell you about rain in march (i'm French...) but I visited Marakele in August 2003. The park is splitted into 2 parts : the camping lies in the smallest one ; it's a rather big camping (I think 35 camping sites), so maybe you won't find it romantic. On the opposite, the 2nd part of the park is definitely wild. There are two possibilities for accomodation : Tlopi (individual huts, overlookink the dam, I think it's romantic : of course, the neighbours are not that far but you stay in your own "home"), and Modikela (I stayed there with my family : 3 clusters of 4 small huts -each comprising 2 beds-, each cluster having its own boma -kitchen- ; when I was there , 1 cluster wasn't busy ; a couple stayed in the other one ; I think this place is rarely overcrowded). Both Tlopi and Modikela are definitely wild places. If you like , that can be great. I liked it so much !!!


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Marakele Park size

Unread post by wildjohn » Wed Apr 20, 2005 5:59 pm


Just need to know something. Does anyone known the area size of the Marakele national park ?



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Unread post by Erwin » Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:16 pm

As on 02 September 2003, the size of the park stood at 110 000 hectares.
why walk if you can run?...why run if you can fly...?

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Re: Marakele vs. Pilanesberg?

Unread post by Erwin » Wed May 11, 2005 8:30 am

Wildtuinman is right - we cannot discuss other parks here. We love SANParks soooo much... 8)

Nevertheless - I can comment on some of your questions that is Marakele specific:
MCSmarties wrote:- How tricky is the driving in Marakele during the rain season? As I have no previous experience with driving a 4x4, would this be unnecessarily risky (just generally speaking, getting off the main road but without seeking any specially difficult spots on purpose)

The roads in Marakele were upgraded recently to such an extend that it is becoming quite sedan-friendly. Even the previous "4x4" routes can now be done with a normal pick-up. Come the rainy season this may change. But still, as I mentioned elsewhere, it will not become a Camel adventure. The park officials have indicated that the road will be maintained to keep it in a stable state.
As in all SANParks' other parks, driving of the road is not permitted. Venturing off the road will definitely leave you with a stuck vehicle and a red face...
MCSmarties wrote:- How is the game viewing in Marakele vs. Pilanesberg in this season? I don't need to "chalk up" the Big 5 at all costs, but obviously would love to see animals!

January = Mid-summer season = tall grass and dense bush. Always difficult to spot game during this time. Best option is to go out early as possible as most game are found on the roads or close-by. Predators also do not like to walk through the dew - they prefer open spaces like roads. But game viewing is like buying a lucky packet - it's all about the anticipation and not knowing what you'll get... :)
MCSmarties wrote:...comparable to the Tlopi Safari Tent camp as far as price and amenities? Not basic camping - my girlfriend won't do that!

Thlopi is good value for money. See reports and comments from people that visited Marakele and stayed at Thlopi. I have visited Marakele recently - there is a report (+ pictures)on my website (see below)
Hope you will choose Marakele and have a good time. :P
why walk if you can run?...why run if you can fly...?

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Unread post by Andreas Cierpka » Mon May 23, 2005 11:48 am

If you want to see the Big Five you have a very little chance to spot them in Marakele. The area is huge and you will have about 40 km offraods to explore the park.
As we just returned from the park and been told by management:

15 buffualos
100 elefants
3 lions

are in the area where the Tlopi camp is.

We saw 8 Rhinos in the area of the caravan park. There are no elefants or lions.

As we have been in Pilansberg as well my recomandation will be:
-) brilliant landscape -> Marakele
-) game viewing -> Pilansberg

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Unread post by Wild@Heart » Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:54 pm

Hi Annelies ...

Some info as requested:

SanParks wrote:Marakele National Park is currently divided into two parts (namely the +/- 2500 ha ‘Kwaggasvlakte’ section and the Greater Marakele National Park), by a public gravel road (the Hoopdal Road). Most parts of the park are only accessible by 4x4.

You can also see some more info here: Marakele National Park

I hope this helps a bit ... Maybe someone who has actually visited the Park will give more advise...
Last edited by Wild@Heart on Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by annelies » Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:58 pm

All the answers given so far I have already read on the forum. On the site of Marakele I can read that you have to use a 4x4. On the otherhand I have read some comments of travelers who were disappointed that there were so much tar roads in Marakale that you do not need a 4x4 anymore. Does anyone knows what is the best to do??

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Unread post by Andreas Cierpka » Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:25 pm

Marakele consists of two parts.

-) The part having the campside and the main gate can be accesses by 2x2. There a just a few minor roads which you can't access but the are marked as 4x4 only.

-) The other section can be accessed via the tarred road and heading towards the view point. If you want to stay in the tended camp you have to use the back door. As you have to report to the main gate anyway to get a map and the gate key. You are able to go the bush camp as well. There is just one part which isn't that comfortable to travel by 2x2. The rest of the roads are strictly 4x4 only.

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Re: once again Marakele

Unread post by lam » Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:47 pm

annelies wrote:We want to go to Marakele at the end of October for 3 nights. Reading this forum it is a littlebit confusing. Can we or can we not go by f.e. 2x2 Condor? Please let us know. We need to hire a car for our trip in SA and need to know what kind of car.
Annelies, The Netherlands

No you don't really need a 4x4. You will be only slightly limited. We didn't enjoy the 4x4 road as they were just to bumpy.

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Unread post by Imberbe » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:16 pm

Hi Annelies

I have been to Marakele quite a few times and wil be going again at the end of October. (maybe we will meet!) Your decision to visit Marakele wil be rewarded! It is a beautiful place!

Regarding the confusion on the roads: It is true that there are some roads in the mountain section of the park that is marked 4x4 only. They used to be in a terrible condition (I did all of them in a 2x4 and survived - just!). 8)

Recently they have been upgraded. The aim of the park is to make all of those roads accesible by sedan motor. They are definatley not there yet! You will however be able to travel all the roads in a 2x4 or 4x4. They are not comfortable! They are quite bumpy! :shock: A regular sedan is just to low on the ground to make it on these roads.

As you may have read, the National Park is devided in to two sections, which is seperated by a public road. The "Kwagga Vlakte" area is the smallest area and is mostly flat, and harbours the most game. Here there are lots of different species e.g. White Rhino, Sable, Kudu. Game viewing is easy and animals are plentiful. The roads there are in a good condition, but can deteriorate considerably after heavy rains. Then you must be aware of getting stuck in the mud. Otherwise you wil have no problems! There has not been any good rains as yet, but the rainy season is about to start.

The mountain section is the biggest part of Marakele NP. There are relativley few roads in this section. The tarred road leading up to the "Towers" are the only road in this section that is really comfortable and accesible to all types of motorcars. It is worth the drive up to the Towers just for the view.

Some rather ignorant people lament the fact that there are few animals in this section. They dont seem to understand that this is a result of the ecology and topography of this beautiful section. There are also quite a few species of animals and plants that occur in this section because of its caracter, that does not occur elsewhere.

The 4x4 roads is also in this section.

If you ask me, it is not at this stage really worth it to try and drive the 4x4 roads. There are some beautiful scenery only visible from these roads, but there are just as beautifull scenery on the other roads. If you stay at Marakele for a long time you might get board with travelling the same roads, but then the park is not that big and even with the 4x4 roads, there is not that many roads to travel.

Enjoy your visit!
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

"Wilderness cannot be conquered, it becomes part of you and enriches your soul." - Louis

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